I found this recipe in a cooking magazine but, interestingly enough, the recipe actually hails from a restaurant in my hometown which also just so happens to be one of my family's favorite Indian restaurants. The Indian word, masala, generally refers to any type of ground spice mixture or sauce made using mixed spices. In this case, exotic spices, tomatoes, onions, and yogurt are blended together to make the masala. The shrimp are seared over high heat and then bathed in coconut milk and the flavorful masala. They become incredibly juicy, and the sauce thickens and sweetens as it cooks. This dish best served over basmati rice. Garam Masala is a spice mixture that you can find in any Indian market and some high-end or natural markets.
Masala Shrimp
Stir-Fried Cauliflower and Green Beans with Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds and Ginger
Basmati Rice
Grilled Pitas or Naan (Indian Flatbreads)


4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1-1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 cup plain yogurt
salt and pepper
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
a 14 ounce can of coconut milk
1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cooking Instructions

To make the masala, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden (about 20 minutes). Add the garlic and all of the spices and stir for 1 minute and then set aside to cool. Drain the canned tomatoes, reserving the juice from the can. Puree the onion mixture, the tomatoes, and the yogurt in a food processor or blender until almost smooth (I like to leave it a little bit chunky). If the mixture is too thick to blend easily, add a bit of the reserved tomato juice to help it along. Season the masala to taste with salt and pepper. (Masala can be made one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate).

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, green onions, lemon juice, and prepared masala. Simmer until the shrimp are opaque in the center (3 to 5 minutes more). Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve.

Makes 8 servings



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This masala recipe works great not only with shrimp but also with mussels, chicken, or any combination of mixed vegetables.

If you can't find garam masala, you can make your own by grinding the following to a fine powder in a coffee grinder: 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds, 1 teaspoon each cumin seeds, black peppercorns and cloves, a 2 inch cinnamon stick and a pinch of nutmeg. Store in a tightly closed jar.

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